The dog days of summer are here. So how do you keep cool without contributing to greenhouse gases and the depletion of fossil fuels or facing skyrocketing utility prices and even blackouts?
Start with the comprehensive site run by the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network (EREN), where you can read about renewable-energy options like hydrogen fuel cells and harnessing tidal movement for power. Take note of the site's resources for consumers, where you'll learn how to keep homes, businesses, schools, and transportation as green as possible. A section on financing helps you calculate the costs of your efficiency efforts, or click on "Ask an Energy Expert" to submit questions to EREN specialists.
California's power woes focused the nation's attention on energy earlier this year, so check out Pacific Gas & Electric's site for dozens of good tips on conservation. The utility's "1-2-3" program neatly divides efficiencies into no-cost, low-cost, and no-holds-barred categories. Still more useful information on quick and inexpensive energy solutions can be found at the California Energy Commission's site, and from the Sierra Club.
To find emissions data on every possible appliance, calculate your energy consumption and personal contribution to pollution, or commune with fellow eco-geeks, click on the entertaining site of the Center for Neighborhood Technology, www.airhead.org. The EPA presents information on the best and brightest appliances, office products, and even homes on its Energy Star site. And to keep abreast of the latest energy news or to give your house a "Home Energy Checkup," go to the helpful site run by the Alliance to Save Energy.
What about changing how we as a society use energy? The Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy at www.dcs.
ncsu.edu/solar/dsire/dsire.cfm lets you access a wealth of information on the laws, policies, and financial incentives of green-energy programs in your home state.
Finally, if all the grim energy news leaves you hot and bothered, click on www.swimmingholes.org for the ultimate quick-cooling techniques.